John Mayer. For all of his verbal faux pas of late, and the resultant drop in respect for him (outside of his unwavering hoard of female fans anyway), there’s no denying the sheer talent and musical smarts of the man. Last night Mayer rolled his “Battle Studies” tour into town along with his talented band, dragging with them into a nearly sold-out GM Place, thousands of screaming fans skewed noticeably in favour of the female persuasion.
With the stage surrounded by a large white sheet, John took his position on stage and kicked things off by breaking into his current signature hit “Heartbreak Warfare”. As he did so, an impressive video sequence was projected onto the sheets as they opened to reveal the band. Actually, the entire night’s video and light show was pretty cool – much better than I remember from John’s previous visits to town.
The night’s set list was pretty diverse drawing on tracks from Mayer’s past and present studio albums. There were a few notable omissions like “Your Body is a Wonderland”, but I was pretty stoked with what was on offer for the night:
- Heartbreak Warfare
- Good Love is On the Way
- Perfectly Lonely
- Slow Dancing in a Burning Room
- Waiting on the World to Change
- Somebody Loves You (New Song)
- All We Ever Do Is Say Goodbye
- No Such Thing
- Ain’t No Sunshine
- Why Georgia
- Who Says (Encore)
- Gravity (Encore)
Highlights for me were the insane light and video show accompanying a wicked performance of “Assassin” and the well received mashup of “Half of My Heart” and Canadian favourite song “Don’t Stop Believing” (Journey cover – see below*). Mid-set, and at the start of a 4-5 song acoustic set, Mayer revealed a new track called “Somebody Loves You” which was pretty impressive I have to say. I guess we’ll be seeing that one released on his next album.
Also of note was drummer Steve Jordan’s amazing solo lead-in to “Waiting on the World To Change”. It cranked on for over 5 minutes and, being a former drummer myself, I (along with a few thousand others) were completely captivated by the spectacle. The accompanying camera work, projected up onto the large video back of screen was a definite addition to this moment*:
As per usual, John’s set was punctuated by his well-received (going on the female screams echoing around the stadium) Vancouver gushing banter. He also proved he’s still got that quick wit thing going on when he looked out into the crowd, spotted a young woman brandishing a sign that proclaimed that she had traveled several thousand miles, “just for a kiss.”
John’s reply, “Sorry, ladies, I’m gonna need that in kilometres.”
There’s not a whole lot of video that’s hit the web from the performance last night, as yet, but I’ll update this post with some of the better stuff as it trickles in. In the meantime, here’s a grab from John’s blazing rendition of “Slow Dancing in a Burning Room”.
Special mention must also go to the energetic “Michael Franti” who opened the night at GM Place along with his band “Spearhead”. Although the crowd really didn’t seem to raise themselves to his level of enthusiasm, he hopped bare footed around the stage and took off into the darkness of the crowd on many occasions delivering his brand of reggae-infused beats face-to-face with anyone and everyone who joined him in the aisles.
His set concluded back on stage with his monster hit “Say Hey (I Love You)” during which he invited anyone willing to come up on stage and jam with him. I’ve never really seen anything like it before and I spent half the performance wondering how many kittens the stadium’s security team were having throughout (where the hell does that saying come from anyway???).
All in all, Franti did his job by getting the crowd going (well his faithful army of followers anyway) and warming up the stage for the man that everyone was obviously in the house to see last night – John Mayer.
Being relegated to the “nose-bleed” section of the stadium for the night along with my friends, getting any decent shots of John going through his paces on stage was a futile exercise, so the shots listed below are courtesy of Flickr photographer Noah Bloom who appears to have had “rockstar” seats somewhere up in the first few rows.
* A big thanks to my mate Jen for a couple of the videos posted above. Evidently she had better seats than me too!